KUALA LUMPUR – A total of 15 preventive centres for disease control have been set up at key entry points in Makkah and manned by 25,000 health personnel around the clock during this year’s haj season, said Saudi Arabia’s Culture and Information Ministry.
The Ministry, in a statement sent here said these centres were equipped with emergency teams and medicines, as well as supported by some 300 ambulances, 30 motorbike ambulances, eight air ambulances and 113 ambulance centres.
In addition, it said more than 2,000 Saudi Red Crescent Authority personnel had been deployed in Makkah and Madinah.
“Working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Saudi Arabia has also made contingency plans in the event of Ebola and MERS outbreaks by setting up special quarantine units.
“Pilgrims are urged to get vaccinated against certain diseases before travelling. It is only upon producing proof of vaccination that one is issued a haj visa,” it said.
The statement said that so far, more than 2,100 free medical procedures had been performed on the pilgrims.
This year, the Saudi authorities had recommended that the elderly, who are 65 years and above, those with chronic diseases, immune deficiency, malignancy and terminal illnesses, pregnant women and children under 12 years old to postpone their pilgrimage.
It said that at the courtyard of Al Masjid Al Nabawi in Madinah, giant umbrellas had been installed to protect pilgrims from the powerful rays of the sun, while sliding domes had been installed in the outdoor assembly area of the mosque to protect pilgrims from the heat.
“Saudi authorities have also decreed that pilgrims can perform the Stoning of the Devil ritual anytime between sunrise and sunset. In the past, many pilgrims took part in this ritual under the scorching afternoon sun,” it added. – Bernama